Pia design project | Homes & Gardens |
“The views over the North Downs were a starting point for the designs,” explains Pia Pelkonen. The fake Georgian country house, one of the best houses in the world, is located in a breathtaking location in Surrey.
Pia, founder of Pia Design (opens in a new tab), was brought on board to breathe new life into the dated interiors. ‘When we first visited the house it was winter and there were wonderful panoramic views to all sides in an incredible natural setting on the heights of the Downs. We felt that the view needed to continue into the white blocks between the windows to achieve a continuous panoramic feel, so it seemed like the outside was coming in. All of the colors we have used in the house are inspired by the changing colors of nature surrounding the property – spring yellow daffodils, cool summer greens, autumn rusty orange and moody winter blues.
Customers had collected beautiful furniture over the years and it was important to them that the update minimized waste and environmental impact wherever possible. The goal was to conserve and restore all the furniture that meant a lot to them. “We didn’t want to replace anything and in fact the only furniture that was thrown away were two tired sofas,” says Pia. “Everything else has been used up, with many pieces finding new homes in different rooms. We brought it all back to life. We also decided to keep all the paneling and baseboards. The Douglas fir doors had a nice grain, so we left them intact. Clients have been very pleased that we have taken this approach of preserving what could be salvaged, rather than wanting to start from scratch with all new finishes and fittings.
Pia created a smart entryway by replacing chipped and worn porcelain floor tiles with marble herringbone. The elegant Sandberg Pil wallpaper with its willow leaves imitates the shape of the tiles.
Other changes included the introduction of paneling in the style of the rest of the property and the replacement of the front door with a more robust one. A nice personal touch that makes the entryway special is the bespoke stained glass panel, made by Luna Glasswork – the design is inspired by the daffodils that grow on the client’s driveway to the house in the spring.
The elegant hallway with its Douglas fir staircase is certainly a sensation.
Clients thought it was quite a busy space before, so Pia wanted to create a serene yet sophisticated atmosphere.
Among her hallway ideas was the introduction of an eye-catching landscape mural by Woodchip & Magnolia. Patterned rugs have been replaced with herringbone wood flooring to match the staircase, and spindles have been painted in Farrow & Ball railings to break up the continuity of the wood. The lounge chair belonged to the client’s grandmother and has been re-upholstered to give it new life.
The existing arches frame the views of the Downs beautifully. Panels with a Woodchip & Magnolia mural are a nod to the venue.
Pia’s dining room ideas revolved around creating a period aesthetic for this formal space and upcycled furniture. “We reused the client’s existing furniture but moved it from the garden room to the formal dining room and reupholstered the dining chairs in a blue velvet,” says Pia. “The suspension was previously in the customer’s kitchen.”
With blue being one of the client’s favorite colours, a soothing backdrop was created by repainting the walls and ceiling in Skylight and Dix Blue by Farrow & Ball.
“This room has stunning views of the North Downs, so we wanted to continue those uninterrupted views with the addition of a landscape wallpaper mural from Woodchip & Magnolia,” says Pia. “It gives a panoramic feel.”
Among the living room ideas to evoke a period look was the introduction of three bespoke matching sofas based on a historic design. “They were one of the few items we bought or made for home and despite their upright shape, they’re really comfortable for lounging around,” says Pia.
As this room faces an inner courtyard with a rose garden and a central fountain, Pia wanted to evoke a “feel of indoors and outdoors”. Key to this is trailing ivy wallpaper from Sandberg and a moss green sofa and chair.
The client’s existing wood and rattan furniture was reused in this space to create an informal dining area.
The kitchen was a relatively new addition to the house. One of Pia’s kitchen ideas was to update it and add drama by repainting the island in Farrow & Ball railings. The original antique chandelier has been moved to the dining room and replaced with a classic globe-shaped pendant from Lux Deco.
Customers loved their existing pastel blue color scheme, so Pia decided to keep it because it evokes a soothing vibe. Among her bedroom ideas to add the wow factor were a bespoke wall mural by de Gournay and a bubble chandelier by Dowsing & Reynolds.
Pia has created cheerful bedroom decor by injecting pops of color and an eye-catching wall mural that complements the classic wooden furniture.
“The bedrooms at the back of the house were already furnished, but otherwise very simple,” says Pia. The bed, bedside tables and lamps belonged to the client. Pia therefore introduced a dark color with painted walls and ceilings, as well as a mural on the headboard wall, creating an atmospheric scheme.
“It’s the smallest room in the house, but with a big impact,” says Pia. “We didn’t want visitors to feel boxed in, so we used Cole & Son’s Nuvolette cloud wallpaper on the ceiling to give the visual impression of the sky opening up in the room.”
The unusual shape of the bespoke headboard was inspired by the existing cornice in the house.
As this room suffers from reduced ceiling height, Pia used Cole & Son Nuvolette cloud wallpaper inside the windows and installed panels on the walls for added interest. A colorful custom headboard pulls together the shades used in the scheme.
This space looked dated and among Pia’s bathroom ideas for creating a chic new scheme was the introduction of a bespoke vanity unit with fluted drawer fronts. Marble mosaic tiles on the floor and Carrara marble on the shower backsplash have been used to evoke a lavish feel, while dark blue panels and blinds add drama.
Interior design / Pia Design (opens in a new tab)
Photographs/ Mary Wadsworth
Styling / Milly Bruce